Fragile (a Kind of Spiritual Catharsis)
It was in the 9 o’clock hour of morning April 19 2016 when the bomb exploded and the epiphany
took hold.My senses jarred and alarmed at this my first experience of the tragic.Hundreds of
lives wiped out or altered in an instant by a suicide bomber.It was in Kabul,Afghanistan a
country marred and scarred by these kinds of occurrences.A country at war now for 37
years.War as i’ve come to know intimately, breeds pathology and poverty.and as Edwin Starr so
powerfully stated,”War,ugh,Good God Y’all,What it is good for? Absolutely Nothing!!! to this i can
I first came to Kabul on March 6 2014 to meet a family who had lost two young sisters Parwana
and Khorshid to this war,also by a suicide bomber.I came because i had to.Something
inexplicable had awoken within me,something deep and profound.So i packed my bags and my
guitar and flew to the ends of the Earth.As a musician i could no longer play in the arena of the
safe and as a follower of John Coltrane and his idea of “A Love Supreme” i could no longer
ignore the moans of the oppressed,forsaken children of our planet.So on February 1 2016 i
moved to Kabul to teach guitar and work to better the lives of every kid that i could beginning
with the brother and sisters of Parwana and Khorshid.Soon hundreds of kids mostly girls began
to take to this glorious phenomena called the Guitar.They strummed as if the salvation of
humanity hinged upon it.
Then April 19,that tragic,mournful day and the epiphany that ensued.It was the resonance of a
song i first heard in the 1980’s by an Englishman who went by the moniker “Sting”.This deep
souled songsmith who had achingly sang about a lady of the night with such pathos had penned
a hymn like sonic prayer called “Fragile”.The words prophetically depicting what had just
“If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the color of the evening sun
Tomorrow’s rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant to clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are”
That afternoon when the children arrived they were visibly upset by this senseless attack.When i
explained to them that our mission was now to respond to every act of hate and rage with a
song of love and hope beginning with “Fragile” by Sting from England,they seemed relieved and
resolved to fulfill this sacred mandate.
It was through this song that these absolute beginners in both life and music who themselves
had survived bomb attacks,poverty,loss and other forms of extreme violence began to
understand how music could express the fragility of existence and how music also had the
capacity to heal the afflictions that had plagued them. It was through this song that they also
came in contact with the poetic spirit,in particular the lines.
On and on the rain will fall like tears from a star.When i shared with them that sometimes life is
so sad that even the stars cry,you could see their eyes sparkle in a kind of spiritual catharsis.
It was through this song that they also learned about England the birthplace of Sting and with
this learning they began to expand their worldview and the knowingness that they were an
integral part of this wondrous enterprise called “Life”.
Such are the many aspects of Music.That M.ytically U.nified S.acred I.ntegral C.onsciousness
I heard recently Sting speak about the need for more mercy in the world.This is most assuredly
a truth that one knows intimately after spending time in places like Afghanistan.
These Girls (and some boys) with their guitars have begun to beam like rock n roll fireflies
amidst the darkness that envelopes so much of Afghanistan.Each note for them is an act of
mercy and compassion for humanity,for Afghanistan,for their families,for themselves.Their
dedication is a testament to the insightful work of artists like Sting and to the immaculate
hearts,souls and minds that they possess and the glorious nature of music to bind it all.